This entire Coastal area since Roman plus Norman invasion periods had a high level of shipping trade & communication. From early 13th Century, a Shipmaster, Robert of Kidwelly had licence to trade with Gascony & this time was when the Breton influences & involvement in the Abbey at Strata Florida was burgeoning.
Gwendraeth Valley Motor Cycle & Light Car Club proudly erected their Banner & welcomed a huge entry of the latest & fastest racing machinery known. To compete in 10 separate classes rangeing from 1 mile sprints to 5, 10, 25 & 50 miles speed & distance events, a 2 1/2 miles lap circuit proclaimed by riders & officials following the first event at Cefn Sidan to be a far superior surface to Pendine, plus there were no fatalities in Cefn Sidan Speed Trials, a point all were proud of following the high number of shipwrecks & of unfortunates who had perished on those sands..
Doctors & St John's Ambulance's uniformed trained members were in prominent attendance the latter smartly turned out with 'blanco'd whites', thankfully with no major casualties on which to test their skills, bandages & ointments. Nearby Club 'BONT' had it's old lapel badge supplied to us for inclusion >Thanks to Trevor Richards, proprietor of Pontarddulais Tyre Centre, well known to all enthusiasts as a top motor & motorcycles sportsman.
D J Rees's Morgan which is believed to be the one here which won at Cefn Sidan with Handel Davies in the passenger seat
Officials Noted to be:- President: D J R Smith, Judges:Cpt. Jack Evans (M.C.), & Clifford Davies esq., Chief Marshal: David Walters. Lap Scorers Evan Enock, James Morris, Tom Williams, Stephen James, Starter: David Davies, Start Marshals:David Gravelle, Edwin Beynon, Clerk of the Course: F Glynn Davies, Timekeeper: R Wehrle, Programmes Marshal: R Gravelle, Measurer: H Rix, John Davies, Stewards: John Davies, D J Evans, David Treharne, J Mansel-Davies, William Morris, Idris J Walters, Secretary: T G Gravelle, Marshals: Members of Gwendraeth Valley Motor Cycle & Light Car Club.
Gwendraeth Valley Motor Cycle & Light Car Club, you can again see M A Clare's location & Date marks faintly at lower left & the Sept. event winners are E W Thomas on No12, 500 Norton & centre R E Thomas of Glogue Nr. Whitland on his 1000 Brough Superior using 50% Aviation Spirit & 50% Benzole. The Brough he received from the factory, 'with operating instructions in a personal letter' delivered by rail to Glogue station on 25th June 1926, (in a one mile sprint at Pendine in 1928 R E Thomas on his machine estimatedly capable of 115 mph came a very close second against George Brough on the latest factory machine.)
George Brough on what we believe is that machine developed for the 1928 season.
R E Thomas & High capacity machine went on to campaign & gain a high number of wins & silverware against machines of lesser capacity plus high capacity Vee twins, McEvoys, Indians machinery & such, his 'regional reign' was to come to an end circa 1929 when the Bristol located Douglas Factory brought out their twin 'fore & aft' horizontal engined machines which can be seen in the Oxwich page of this website, whilst Scott 2 stroke engined machinery & Sunbeam 'Sprint' designed machinery generally had 'caught up' with the higher capacity rulers.
Eddie Stephens & brother Iago figured well in results at Cefn Sidan & in attendance was Tom Gravell then 14 yrs of age who founded the oldest Renault dealership in Wales. Media of the period carried scornful reference to rumours from those west of the location who had claimed the event would be postponed.
June 11th Results: 1: One Mile sprint for up to 350cc solo Machines, 1/Nick Carter (Matchless) 2/ Eddie Stephens (New Imperial) 2: One Mile Sprint for up to 600cc Solo Machines, 1/Nick Carter, 2/ A Williams (Douglas) 3: 10 Miles for up to 350cc Solo Machines, 1/Nick Carter 2/Eddie Stephens.4: 10 Miles for up to 500cc Solo Machines, 1/A Williams, 5: 10 Miles for Unlimited Solo machines, 1/R E Thomas (Brough Superior) 2/E W Thomas (Norton), 6: 5 Miles for Sidevalve Machines, 1/David Davies (Ariel) David Treharne (AJS), 7: 10 Miles Unlimited for Novice Riders, 1/Tucker (Ariel) 2/C Thomas (Norton), 8: 25 Miles Unlimited Solo Machines for Gwendraeth Valley Residents, 1/J Davies (Ariel) 2/C Thomas, 9: 25 Miles for Unlimited Sidecar Outfits or 3 Wheeled Machines, 1/Pantall (Norton Sidecar Outfit) 2/Boobyer (Norton Sidecar Outfit) 10: 50 Miles for Unlimited Solo Machines, 1/ R E Thomas (BS) 2/Boobyer (Zenith JAP).
T J Phillips of Port Talbot is listed to be have ridden a Zenith Outfit to finish second at a Pendine event ahead of a leading sidecar exponent Boobyer on a Zenith JAP <(J & A Prestwich Motor) who had finished 3rd at Pendine behind Winner C F Edwards's Brough Superior & L Parker's Douglas Sidecar Outfit.
Dr. Alex Lindsey Snr. of Nantgaredig Nr Carmarthen with his unique but eligible for Sidevalve Race Norton 16H with early & novel streamlining......In the days when Aerodynamics were starting to be explored one has to admire his effort.
Weather for Saturday September 7th, colder, autumnal, but ideal for racing......That initial success of GVMCC&LCC's June 11th Event had pre race media coverage announcing Cefn Sidan had become recognised as a Premier Sand Track in the British Isles.
Sprint Distances were now raised to be one lap 2 1/2 miles.....Competition, preparation methods & developments were & improving, gathering speed. & riders of the region seemed far keener whilst entrants from far further afield were noted.
Speed Trials Officials Team also were given a vote of confidence & selected as before whilst collars & ties seemed regulation dress to attend, the fastened overcoats plus firmly placed 'Dai caps' at the late in day after race picture tells us so much.
Consistent winner at both events at Cefn Sidan was Nick Carter on his famous Matchless, with a very 'Broughlike' fuel tank (but this view is of him later at Oxwich Bay 1931 Sand Races.) Nick also won his classes in the September event.
Results: 17th September 1927 Cefn Sidan Speed Trials: N.B. 12 Events listing in Llanelly Mercury had a blank where results should be after event number 11!.
T (Tom) J Phillips of Port Talbot, placed second in the 2 1/2 Miles Sprint for Solo machines, pictured here at Pendine with a lightweight Swallow sidecar attached & where he was also to figure prominently in results plus as at his home Aberavon Sand Races as well as Oxwich,... he is listed as riding a Zenith 350cc Solo at Cefn Sidan. Tom Phillips started the first Radio business in Port Talbot, he is grandfather of Phil Landeg who (along with Selwyn Griffiths & son Jason Griffiths, Sutcliffe Tuxworth now of Honda fame & Ian Loughor etc etc >a virtual hall of fame) rode for Ray Cowles & Phil became the man who broke Aberdare Park 125cc Lap Record on his long term sponsor's machine, (Derek Williams of APS Motorcycles Bristol & at one time held the Handel Davies Trophy, a look on the home page & you can see that Handel Davies link!).
1: 2 1/2 Miles Sprint for up to 350cc Solo Machines, 1/Nick Carter (Matchless) 2/T J Phillips (Zenith). 2: 2 1/2 Miles Sprint for up to 600cc Solo Machines, 1/E W Thomas (Norton) 2/F T Pantall (Norton). 3: 2 1/2 Miles Sprint for Unlimited Capacity Solo Machines, 1/R E Thomas (Brough Superior) 2/E W Thomas (Norton) 3/S E G Bennett (Scott). 4: 10 Miles Race for up to 350cc Solo Machines, 1/Nick Carter (Matchless) 2/ T J Phillips (Zenith). 5: 10 Miles race for up to 600cc Solo Machines, 1/E W Thomas (Norton) 2/E G Bennett (Scott). 6:10 Miles Unlimited Race for Solo Machines, 1/R E Thomas (Brough Superior) 2/E W Thomas (Norton). 7:10 Miles Novice Race, 1/G Crasier (BSA) 2/P G Sewell. 8: 10 Miles Race for Sidecar Outfits & 3 wheeled machines, 1/D J Rees (Morgan Aero) 2/F T Pantall (Norton Sidecar Outfit). 9: 30 Miles Race For Sidecar Outfits & 3 wheeled Machines, 1/D J Rees (Morgan Aero) 2/F T Pantall (Norton Sidecar Outfit) 10: 25 Miles Race for Unlimited Solo Machines, 1/R E Thomas (Brough Superior) 2/E W Thomas (Norton). 11:???? 12: 50 Miles Race for Unlimited Solo Machines, 1/R E Thomas (Brough Superior) 2/E W Thomas (Norton). & the photo of these is here online!.
Inset:-Another of the wrecks on Pembrey's Cefn Sidan sands, in English that name Translates to 'silken back' which describes its smooth flat stretch of over 7 miles of sand. Wags referred to the races as 'race amongst the wrecks!'.
16th Century saw traffic rise with coal lime & iron whilst in the 19th Century that area's coastline from Kidwelli to Llanelli saw in 1831 -816 vessels take 53,884 tons, 1868 saw 2,266 take 206,693 tons & 182 vessels are recorded as being wrecked on Cefn Sidan alone.
Vessels of note wrecked:
1753 "William and Mary"- Newfoundland to Waterford (Grain Cargo)
1810 "Union"-Cadiz to London (Indigo, Copper & Cochineal Cargo)
1816 "William"-Newfoundland to Bristol (seal Skins & Oil Cargo)
1818 "La Providence"-Bordeaux to Dunkirk (Juniper berries,Wine, Brandy & Coffee Cargo)
1828 "La Jeune Emma"-Martinique to Le Havre (Rum Sugar & Coffee) among those lost were Lt. Col. Coquelin daughter Adeline, niece to the famous Consort of Napoleon, Josephine, buried in Pembrey village Church.
1833 "Brothers"-Bahia to Liverpool (Buffalo Hides & Cotton)
1842 "Die Gute Hoffrung"-Italy to Hamburg (Marble statue valued even then at £2000)
1859 "Stadfelt"-Mexico to Hamburg (Wine, Tobacco, Cordial & Arrowroot)
1877 "Daisy"-Africa to Bristol (Palm Oil, Coconuts & Ivory)
1886 "Teviotdale"-Cardiff to Bombay (Coal)
1899 "Craigwhinnie"-Calcutta to Hull (Linseed)
1923 "Paul"-Nova Scotia to St Annes Head to await destination orders (Timber)
1980 "Resolva"-Pleasure Yacht -bound for Bristol
1996 "Unnamed vsl" Morrocco to Britain found to carry then valued £800 000 of Cannabis Resin!
L V Thomas on his beloved Sunbeam Sprint, wreck in the background, is it that same vessel shown freshly stranded in the inset above, but many years later?, (material, construction & dimensions seem similar).
R E Thomas & Family & Friends at Glogue Nr........... after receiving his Brough 1000 at Glogue Railway Stn.direct from George Brough 25th June 1926.
Mount Whitney was the Paul's earlier name. (Photo by courtesy of Colin Dodds)
The Sailing Vessel when named 'PAUL' registered at Hamburg & wrecked on Cefn Sidan in 1923 to stand as a prominent landmark for many years, its heavy cargo of timber kept the folk of the region supplied also for many years.
Picture kindly supplied by Terry James who masters the fine Rampart website covering Burry Port, Pembrey & Carmarthen Bay plus more.
The locally named 'People of the little hatchets' were in folklore at least accused of displaying lights to misguide & attract shipping onto the beach, the hatchets were it is said used to cut off swollen fingers of casualties bearing gold rings!, thankfully or hopefully all a part of folklore,the Welsh term translated is "Gwyr y Bwelli Bach" & it is recorded that around 50 arrests had been made of wrecked vessel plundering locals whilst around 30 unfortunate perished mariners littered the surrounding area.
At the Burry Port end of the sands is the Harbour, outside which Amelia Earhart Landed her seaplane 'Friendship' after her Atlantic Crossing record breaking flight.
Being towed into Burry Port Harbour following an exhausting record breaking flight
Safe in Burry Port Harbour
Time to spruce up as a lady would after creating such a record.
Then, after rest a takeoff from outside Burry Port harbour & on to this reception at Southampton.
Eastern end of Carmarthen Bay's Cefn Sidan ends at the Llwchwr (Loughor) Estuary passing the edge of Stradey Park, 'Holy of Holies to Llanelli Supporters (TURKS), sadly or perhaps happily the famous ground shall be moved fractionally east soon, just as close to the sands though, this was the day Tookie the pipe fitter, Lofty the Boilermaker, a rigger and myself as an Electrician kept Scarlets Wing Forward Gareth Jenkins away from too much harm working high above the largest span in Europe, Billet Bank Gantry Crane. It was a Saturday morning, a 6am to 2pm shift really prior to Gareth going to do battle with the All Blacks. (Welsh Coach? who knows?) as part of a side still hailed as heroes. Small parts of a discussion touched on a Kiwi prop called Murdoch!. A full time bouncer fearfully reported to have 58 inches Chest measurement. This was raised with Jenkins, who would be packing down just ahead of him, along with what if anything at all he could do if a confrontation emerged, Jenks nervously reassured us (with actions!) that he would defend himself vigorously, Jenkins was just a very youthful lad then and who played in the midweek Llanelly Steel 1907 (Duport) Company Rugby team along players from Llanelli Aberavon, Maesteg, Swansea Neath with Phil Bennett and other West Wales teams. (at least 5 'went North from that side, Butler Prendiville Mathias Watts Gallagher inc.) The end of shift was 2pm, Gareth was manoevred into a slightly earlier finish and legged it, carrying his kitbag across to a mass packed Stradey to take on the All Blacks. Other anxious supporters & morning shift finishers tore to Sid Phillips Historic Old Castle pub!, into the back room where a diminutive black and white screened TV was running a replay of a fracas in the first half. Somehow or other it was no surprise to see Gareth Jenkins raining desperate punches on (guess who?) Murdoch who had been his attacker. Jenks had a broken nose following the initial tussle, but played on hardly noticing it, Murdoch himself had seemed quite surprised at such a fearless response. That was the day the pubs really ran dry after the final whistle with a 9 - 3 to Llanelli result. Murdoch?, he was sent home after another late evening event at the Angel Hotel in Cardiff, the pick of the Wales Police force was patrolling and defending & protecting the visiting All Blacks side, a description of one stocky constable stated his peaked cap was down well over his eyes & he was the type whose torch always seemed to have a broken glass!. That evening all seemed quiet, visiting team took refreshing looks at an illuminated Cardiff Castle, 'just across the road. A fine evening, the sort to pass decent conversations on seemed to change slightly when a Constable noticed it had unexpectedly started to rain, he extended his palm & discovered it was a warm golden sort of rain!! PR seemed well dented. I was 'nearly there' but with others mentioned may just have contributed slightly to the All Blacks downfall.!!
All these years on, the area still is involved with Vee twin 1000cc machinery racing, Neal Owens of Burry Port/Pembrey shows the machine on which he is favourite to take the 2004 British Champiomship Sidecar Racers (clockwise). Neal already has been British Champion at the Clockwise racing competition even using a 600 British Godden Motor against the 4 Cylinder Japanese machines. (Methanol fuel is used by all). SHANKS WASTE SOLUTIONS Ltd., WHO SUPPORT SCARLETS help Neal and show so on the transporter if anyone could get ask the SCARLETS to take part in team pictures with the machine on the Stradey itself....it could bring speed skill bravery sources to be imaged to each since the design construction is al of Burry Port/Pembrey & whilst virtually the top races in England no locals or press see the efforts to gain the Brit. Championship underway it would benefit all to learn of it, Neal can always be reached.
Shanks Waste Solutions, Godden Racing Engines support the team who represent the area out of sight, so if anyone can arrange a 'photo shoot' on the Stradey itself with this team plus Scarlet representation it would be good for both & depict role model examples, image after all often costs nothing & the entire region's image could only benefit.
More on Cefn Sidan can be found in http://www.Carm1.co.uk/Kidwelly/CefnSidan/index.htm